tv Comunidad del Valle NBC September 29, 2013 9:30am-10:01am PDT
hello and welcome to "comunidad del valle," i'm damian trujillo, and today, the recipients of the la familia award. this is your "comunidad del valle." ♪ we begin with the good work of the hispanic foundation of silicon valley. here with me on "comunidad del valle," the president, ceo, name a title give it to former mayor of san jose, ron gonzalez. welcome back to the show, mayor. >> thank you for inviting me. >> you got it. we talked over the years about the new things, innovative
things, that you've been doing over at the hispanic foundation, and you're not stopping. give us an update as far as some of the things that you've been organizing there. >> thank you, first of all, for inviting me, damian, always a pleasure to be on your show and talk about the good work of the hispanic foundation, where our basic mission is to improve the quality of life for silicon valley latinos and the entire region. so our foundation continues to do its good work in the area of youth and education. we have an excellent summer program where we partner with the silicon valley education foundation and a program called "they learn." this past summer we offered middle school students instruction on math and algebra one. over 2,000 school districts all over santa clara county. we're going to be expanding that program to san mateo county this coming year with the redwood city school district, and we see tremendous success in that program. >> you've done that a few years now. is it hard to gauge as far as what kind of success you're
having with it? >> well, we do try to track the students, both throughout their middle school years and high school, but that's an expensive proposition. we do know from the test scores, we do test the students as they enter the program and at the end of the summer program. we see tremendous gains in proficiency levels. their knowledge of the subject matter, whether it's pre-algebra or algebra one. now we have a year-round program offered by a number of school districts where instruction is given either on saturday mornings or after school and that program also is being expanded to redwood city school district this coming year. so those programs have led us to a new initiative that we're going to launch this coming month called "the parent education academy." and this academy will train latino parents on how best to support their child's education. this is provided with a major grant that we got from the coca-cola foundation back in atlanta, georgia, and we're very excited about that program. we're going to be working with a
few partner for us, the parent institute for quality education, for its acronym, pique. they've trained hundreds of thousands of parents throughout the state of california. that project will be added to the portfolio of education programs that we offer to latino students. and then, of course, we have other programs like our latino board leadership academy, which trains young latinos who want to become board members of local nonprofits and a project, as we say, our future, planning and engaging latinos in the future of their communities and the future of silicon valley. >> before you came onboard to the hispanic foundation, the foundation was great at giving grants to various community groups and let them do the work out there that is greatly needed in the community. you've come in and you've done that, but you've added all of these other components that you've taken it to the next level. do you feel that? >> oh, absolutely.
i think the foundation now is well recognized both within the hispanic community, as well as outside the hispanic community as the kind of umbrella organization for silicon valley. our territory includes both santa clara and san mateo counties. we're trying to do more work in san mateo because the latino community is very large, almost as large as santa clara county. we are able to do this because of the great support we've gotten from both local business and corporations, individuals, other foundations who recognize the needs of our community and the growing influence of our community here in silicon valley. >> so you're helping the kids, the students, the parents. you're kind of plugging in the holes to bridge that achievement gap. >> absolutely. we want to make sure that the work we do is actually measured. we do everything with metrics and we look at the effectiveness of our programs. and we're all working towards that ultimate goal of trying to
raise the quality of life for latinos in silicon valley. >> what impressed me, you came up with the report card on health and education and wealth and what not in the silicon valley, but you came up with the results and didn't leave it at that. a year later you came back, now what are we going to do about it? >> exactly, the whole part of engaging latinos in the community and the community where they live. when you realize latinos within silicon valley represent 25% of the population, however, we don't represent 25% of sectors of society in silicon valley. you don't see 25% of high-tech engineers or scientists being latino. you don't see it government or education. we want to change that. that's why we work in specific areas targeted to increase education opportunities for latino youth so they have the skills, the knowledge, and education necessary to go to college, to graduate from
college, with degrees that will help them become employable here in silicon valley. >> that's awesome. another great thing they do, hold the annual hispanic charity ball, where we will be honoring la familia, the family of the year. this year it's the ramirez family. you'll meet some of the family members here on the show. we'll be back and talk about the la familia award when we continue. mom... yes honey? dad told me that cheerios is good for your heart, is that true? says here that cheerios has whole grain oats that can help remove some cholesterol, and that's heart healthy.
[ dad ] jan? ♪ we're back here on "comunidad del valle," actually called the hispanic foundation ball, been the charity ball so many years, thank you, mayor, for that. every year you've honored one family for being a great family unit, but for their community service, which is equally as important in getting the award. tell us about that. >> that's correct, damian. this year is the 24th year that we have taken nominations from the general public. we have a separate group of volunteers that sifts through all that information, all those applications and nominations,
and chooses one family. one family distinction. and the basic criteria that they are looking at is a family that demonstrates a multigenerational commitment to community service. >> these are independent community panelists. >> independent community panelists. i don't sit on a panel. i've learned a long time ago don't sit on panels, so i can say, hey, talk to the panel. it's a very enlightening experience, because oftentimes, you know, certainly because of my background i'll know the family and certainly i knew of this family, the ramirez family, for many, many years. and sometimes you don't. like last year's family, i never knew of that family that was chosen last year, although they were actually from the same neighborhood i was raised in in sunnyvale. it's just this nice way of recognizing people who are doing great things in their community as volunteers, as community service volunteers. >> tell us about leonard ramirez and his family. >> leonard ramirez sr., who
unfortunately is not with us now, or with the ramirez family, i knew many, many years ago. in fact, i know that he was one of the few people in the community that i knew that actually knew my father. they were in difrent organizations together and worked in the community together. but len ramirez sr. was a legend, you know, he was raised in san joaquin valley, came here, served in the military, served his country, and established a number of organizations here in san jose. and, you know, i think demonstrated the qualities of our parents' generation. you know, they earned everything that was given to them and they understood the importance of passing on those values to their children. i always said that i got into public service because my father taught us the importance of finding some way to improve the lives of others, and i think that's probably true with len
ramirez sr. now what you're going to see later in the program is a couple members of the len ramirez sr. family, len ramirez jr., of course, his wife julie, who are just representatives of a much larger clan who will be at the hispanic foundation ball and be recognized there. but again, i think they were chosen because they represent decades, you know, not just a couple years, not just one community service organization, but decades of community service. >> when you talk about leonard sr., you're talking about a man who sort of invented modern day community service. he also was instrumental in changing the way we incarcerated our youth. it wasn't all about incarceration for him, it was about rehab and education first before incarceration. >> that's absolutely true, and i think len ramirez sr. really kind of led the movement to really begin to ask questions, you know, before we put a youth
into juvenile hall, there's a lot of questions about why, you know, is this the best move for that young person. and i think that began a community-wide conversation that still is taking place today, and rightly so, because we know that latino youth are incarcerated at higher levels than nonlatino youth. you know, there are a lot of reasons for that and this program's way too short to get into all that, but len ramirez sr. began to ask those important questions very early. >> before we lose time here, you have an important announcement about the keynote speaker. >> yes, we're very delighted for the hispanic foundation ball this year, we are delighted to have the mayor of san antonio, texas, julian castro. very interesting young man. many people project him to be a rising political star in the national scene. we're delighted to welcome him here to silicon valley and to expose him to latinos in silicon valley. he's got to understand that california really rules the
world, and we hope to begin that orientation on the saturday he gives his presentation to us. >> i don't know if we should advise people to drink the water that night as host, i have twins, laura will be my co-host, she has triplets. julio castro is a twin himself. >> i think you and laura are doing the best job you probably can to contribute to our findings that said by 2035, latinos are going to be the largest population group in silicon valley. you're doing your fair share, that's for sure. >> the hispanic foundation ball is coming up this coming saturday. any final thoughts? >> for those members of the community, hispanic or nonhispanic who have not been to this event, it's a fantastic event, a lot of fun. great networking opportunities, over 800 people come to the event from the high-tech industry, from the banking industry, from community organizations, other nonprofits. it is the place to be to get connected to the latino community. >> all right.
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they are the recipients of this year's la familia award, given by the hispanic foundation of silicon valley. honored to be joined here on "comunidad del valle." welcome to the show. let's start with you first. your reaction to being nominated and then selected as la familia. >> well, it's a very humbling experience, because we know that this award is one of the prestige awards given to hispanics in this northern california. we've gone to the ball many years, and we've been in awe of many of the families that have been recipients in the past, so it's a tremendous honor and we're very proud and very proud for our parents, my father and my mother, who did a lot of work in this community early on when there weren't a lot of social services available and there was
really no way to, you know, forecast how hispanics would grow. >> you had mentioned that in our interview previously in saying that there was no template for community service. they had to create their own template, which is kind of iconic what they did, your parents. >> right. they were part of a group of young people in san jose in the 1950s who were identified as potential leaders. and so they were given some training on how to better their community, and what they did is a story largely untold, and that's one of the reasons i'm pleased about this award, too, it gives us an opportunity to tell an untold story here in silicon valley and san jose about the role of hispanics in the mid 20th century. it's a history that we really don't hear about. it's not written down. if you go to any kind of history display in san jose, the hispanic history, and that part of the 20th century is virtually unknown. so that's given an opportunity
for us to tell that story of what they and others did, notable people like cesar chavez were part of that small group that branched out. and it also helps us connect the dots between a small group of people working in san jose in the 1950s and one of the biggest social causes of the 1960s and '70s, which became the united farm workers union and the, you know, ability and what happened with the farm workers to raise the social consciousness of all hispanics. >> your mom was there on the board of officers with cesar chavez. she was a treasurer and he was the vice president. so they worked hand-in-hand. i actually saw len when he was a reporter at channel 8 in salinas. i was in high school. not to age both of us, but now he's a competitor here in the bay area, so we're honored to have you here. >> friends more than competitors. >> there you go. when you married len, you had
mentioned that you bought it. i mean, you bought that message that mr. and mrs. ramirez were selling. >> absolutely. i fell in love with them from the very beginning because they are such wonderful people and committed to their family, which was very obvious, but moreover, committed to the community. i wholeheartedly accepted that and really admired their commitment to community. >> your message, it struck me. your message that you're giving your children about growing up a ramirez. what is that message to them? >> right, right. you know, the message that i want my kids to take away is that you serve others, as well as your own family. and you do it with dignity and respect. and i think this award has really kind of forced us to pause and to reflect. a self reflection, but also a reflection on the contributions of len's parents. and to share that story with not only the community, which i'm
very happy about, but our kids. because in the hustle and bustle of things, we really don't stop and really take in all of the tremendous contributions that they've made. and so it's kind of forced us to slow down and show our kids the history that is recorded in documents and in videos and plaques and commendations that were bestowed upon my in-laws. and i'm really, really proud of that and happy that we have this opportunity now to share it with our kids. >> you're doing a good job at training the next generation of ramirez community service. tell us about your dad, because you heard what the former mayor said, the accolades, the assembly was adjourned in his honor after his passing. he was at the certain point there, he was the valley of hearts to like. >> he was the pioneer, born in east los angeles. he came to the central valley
when he was a teenager in the 1940s. he went to serve in the army, and when he got out, his service really exposed him to the rest of the world, as it did for so many millions of service members in the world war ii era. he came out with sort of a fresh outlook on life and saw the injustices when he returned home to the wood lake and central county. i think that kind of got him started. he immediately enrolled in college after that, the g.i. bill, came to san jose state, graduated in 1953, and that's about that time when the social activism started. others had similar views and they say, you know, we need to do something about some of these injustices that we see in our community. no paved streets, no street lights, no sidewalks. they got involved and they wanted to do those things. they also got visiting nurses for the elderly. my dad got a teaching credential
and taught senior citizens english. he graduated over 250 seniors. and because of that, it helps the next generation, you know, the grandparents can speak english, the kids are going to be able to be helped with their homework and stuff. the lives that he touched, as well as my mom. my mom was a bilingual instructor at the mt. pleasant school district for many years, and she was no, ma'minated for who in teachers by one of her former students who said she had a tremendous impact on him. both of them really did a lot of good in this community. >> these are part of the reasons the ramirez family will be honored at the hispanic foundation ball this coming saturday. there is the web address for more information. come on by and experience a great evening at the hispanic foundation. we'll be back and talk more about community service when we continue. stay with us. for a yoplait.
speaking with this year's recipients of the la familia award. talk to me about community service. because you've taken that to heart and it's nonstop for you. why is that and how badly is it needed? >> right. you know, i tell myself that i do it because i love my community, but i do what i can when i can, and i feel so fortunate to have len's support after college to stay home and raise my kids, and so my volunteerism was primarily with their education. and i feel very fortunate for that, not only did my kids benefit, but other children benefitted from it, as well. it's needed, because we have so many parents who simply don't have the time or the resources to get out there and assist in their public education, for example, so i'm happy that i was
there to fill that gap and got so much joy out of it. and my kids' elementary school, those friendships that we made as a family still go strong today. they really are the people that we spend weekends with, you know, parties and they join us for family celebrations. and those are the kinds of friendships that i've been able to maintain and that's been kind of a really sweet benefit of that whole thing. >> as a news reporter, you really can't get involved in community advocacy, because we have to remain neutral, but there's a way to do community service and you've kind of found that way. >> what i try to do is tell stories that haven't been told to look at an issue and look at voices that you don't always hear from. and that's one of the things that i think we can do as reporters, and it's part of our responsibility as reporters, to tell all sides of the story and give, in some cases, a voice to
the voiceless. you do that as well as anybody, damian. so you know. >> i learn from the best. >> but it is an important role. journalism in this country plays a very important role in the way our society works and the way our government works. we've both been trained by some of the same instructors at san jose state and we've been given that, you know, instilled in us how important the ethics of being an honest broker of the facts is. >> before we end the time here, tell us about your siblings, because they are being honored, as well. >> that's right. my sister and her husband are founders of the latin jazz youth ensemble of san francisco. this is a free musical program where they learn from some of the best latin instructors, latin jazz instructors, on the west coast. and it's a completely free program. they run it by themselves, and they won numerous awards.
reporting artist, as well, they perform at the san jose jazz festival, as well as jazz festivals in san francisco. >> on their second cd? >> second cd, and they've touched and improved the lives of many young artists in the san francisco area, including our own son and our daughter wants to sing with them, as well. >> nice, nice. and then carlos was your brother, we lost him a few years ago. david, as well. everybody kind of pitched in and lent a hand. >> that's right. we were all born and raised here in san jose, and, you know, we grew up with that feeling of community service, you know, kind of permeating through the household. it wasn't, you know, you must do this. it was just kind of the way things were. so all of us came up with that spirit in mind. and it's, again, a tremendous honor to be recognized, but the real credit goes to my mom and dad, you know, who really set the mold and really helped
improve this community at a time when no one else was really doing it. they were part of a small group of people. some of those people are still with us, some of them have moved on or passed on, so it's a good night to be able to honor that generation. >> that's incredible. final thoughts. if you can tell us or maybe speak to those who wish to stand on the sidelines and let other people do the heavy lifting and work, your advice to them. if we're going to straighten things out, we talk about some of the issues that the mayor spoke about, if we're going to straighten some of those issues out, we're going to need everybody's help. >> we do. my advice is, do what you can when you can. and always be there for your kids. so support their endeavors and their activities. but my advice is just to do what you can and for some it may be the opportunity and the privilege really to be out there and serve your community. but it may be a donation to your school. it may be taking your child to
the library so that he may have books to read. you do what you can, when you can, and we all move forward together. >> all right. the recipients of the annual la familia award, the ramirez foundation. they'll be honored at the hispanic ball this coming saturday. thank you so much for your community service and congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for having us. >> if you have any recommendations for future shows, drop us an e-mail. there's my e-mail address. my twitter handle, drop me a line and let me know what's going on, so we can get you going there. also pick up a copy of the newspaper and support your bilingual weeklies all across the bay area. we thank you, once again, for sharing a part of your sunday with us. we'll see you at the hispanic foundation ball. mom...
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